Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013 Referendum Update

Village and School Board Discussion Session
On Monday, June 24, the Village Board and the School Board met to discuss Coe Street, Kissel Street, the MS/HS parking lot, and the MS/HS entrances.   Representatives from the school reviewed the current schematic design plans for the MS/HS facilities project.  In addition, representatives from the Village board reviewed their plans for extending Kissel Street and removing the Coe Street/Front Street intersection.  The school board explained how changes to Coe Street in front of the MS/HS would improve student safety and and also improve the current parking lot area.
One possible solution that was discussed was closing down Coe Street between Lewis Street and Kissel Street.  Closing down Coe would eliminate traffic in front of the middle/high school, and allow the district to configure the lot in a manner that separates bus drop off, student parking, and parent/student drop off.  Members of the Village board indicated that this would be inconvenient for residents in the Schneider/Brody neighborhood when they attempted to access Front Street heading east.  In addition, it would increase the amount of traffic on Lewis Street and the Lewis Street/Front Street intersection.  The group recognized the design of the Lewis/Front Street intersection was not ideal.
Moving, rather than closing, the section of Coe Street adjacent to the MS/HS to wrap around the proposed multi-purpose addition was also discussed. The group recognized the need to change Coe Street if the multi-purpose addition is added to the northeast portion of the MS/HS building.  Members from the village board indicated that redirecting Coe Street in front of the school would not be an problem, as it would result in no change of current traffic patterns.  The concern for this option is that it still splits the entire parking lot from the school, and limits parking lot reorganization options and future expansion for the school.
The group also suggested having Coe Street veer North and, as a result, provide a new access point to Front Street along the Western edge of the current MS/HS parking lot.  In this option, the village would consider vacating the street in front of the multi-purpose addition.  This represents a possible compromise in which the school would have options for reorganizing the parking lot layout and limiting traffic in front of the school.  This option maintains a logical Front Street access for residents in the Schneider/Brody neighborhood.  Mr. Beckum indicated that this option should be presented to the department of transportation as soon as possible.  He is concerned that the DOT may not approve the change if the “new” Coe Street and the “new” Kissel Street intersections are too close together.  The group agreed that a meeting with DOT should be arranged.  Mr. Beckum and I contacted the DOT, and a representative will be at the school on Monday, July 1st.
Other topics were discussed.  No formal actions were taken on any of these items.
There is a safety concern when student athletes drive from the MS/HS parking lot to the ELEM parking lot at the end of the day.
Closing Coe Street between Lewis and Kissel streets only during school hours was considered.
What will happen to the land north east of the MS/HS after the Kissel project is complete?  Could this be a new parking lot? Green space or a small park?

Elementary Project Design Workshop
On Thursday, June 27, we completed a third design workshop.  The workshop consisted of two sessions, one for elementary faculty and one for members of the facilities/stakeholder committee.  The results of the meeting were positive and reflected a general consensus of those present.

Dale Poynter and Chelsea Swanson from SDS Architects presented five schematic designs to the group.  The schematic designs were variations of previous designs.  Early in this meeting, it was clear the draft design below was the most popular.  In this design, the parent pick up/drop off parking lot remains in the same general location.  However, it is expanded and sidewalks are added to allow for students and visitors to get to the main entrance without crossing lanes of traffic.   Angled parking on the north side of the parking lot replaces the parking in the center median of the lot.    Faculty members supported this design because it clearly designates the main entrances, utilizes the existing access roads, and will not be a big change for parents/visitors.  Additionally, the design supports future expansion if necessary to the west of the current building.

Faculty members in attendance favored the new classrooms in one standard (3 classroom by 3 classroom) hallway rather than surrounding a central rectangular open area.
The location of the new bathrooms was discussed.  Teachers wanted to make sure that the location of the bathrooms supported reasonable needs for supervision while also minimizing disruptions for adjacent classrooms.  In this design, the new restrooms are close to the office which was identified as a favorable location.
The parking lot south west of the school would be used primarily as a faculty parking lot and for event/bus parking which in turn increases available spaces in the current northeast lot.   The size and exact location of this parking lot is flexible.
The group favored leaving the cafeteria space open and felt that, with the addition of storage space in front of the current receiving room, there was no additional need for general storage rooms in the new cafeteria beyond that needed to serve the kitchen.   Below is a 3D interpretation of this schematic design.

MS/HS Project Design Workshop Scheduled
I am encouraged by the progress that we have made at the elementary school, and I am hopeful that we will continue to build positive momentum for the MS/HS project with the Village and with the Department of Transportation.  I have been in contact with Mr. Poynter over the past week, and he is using the feedback, questions, and comments we have already provided to add detail to the schematic design for MS/HS project.  We are at a point in which Mr. Poynter would like to gain more design feedback.  I would like to schedule a MS/HS focused workshop for both faculty and interested members of the facilities/stakeholder committee.  The date we have selected is Tuesday, July 9 at 7:00 pm.

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